Closing the door to human immunodeficiency virus
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- Kang, Y., Guo, J. & Chen, Z. Protein Cell (2013) 4: 86. doi:10.1007/s13238-012-2111-9
The pandemic of human immunodeficiency virus type one (HIV-1), the major etiologic agent of acquired immunodeficiency disease (AIDS), has led to over 33 million people living with the virus, among which 18 million are women and children. Until now, there is neither an effective vaccine nor a therapeutic cure despite over 30 years of efforts. Although the Thai RV144 vaccine trial has demonstrated an efficacy of 31.2%, an effective vaccine will likely rely on a breakthrough discovery of immunogens to elicit broadly reactive neutralizing antibodies, which may take years to achieve. Therefore, there is an urgency of exploring other prophylactic strategies. Recently, antiretroviral treatment as prevention is an exciting area of progress in HIV-1 research. Although effective, the implementation of such strategy faces great financial, political and social challenges in heavily affected regions such as developing countries where drug resistant viruses have already been found with growing incidence. Activating latently infected cells for therapeutic cure is another area of challenge. Since it is greatly difficult to eradicate HIV-1 after the establishment of viral latency, it is necessary to investigate strategies that may close the door to HIV-1. Here, we review studies on non-vaccine strategies in targeting viral entry, which may have critical implications for HIV-1 prevention.